Innovir Laboratories Inc. said Thursday it entered into a researchcollaboration with Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research toevaluate Innovir's approach to treating acute promyelocytic leukemia(APL).The goal of the sponsored research agreement is to see if New York-based Innovir's ribozyme-based therapeutics induce the maturation anddifferentiation of leukemic white blood cells, thereby restoring them tonormal functioning.Sloan-Kettering, of New York, will evaluate in vivo and in vitroefficacy of site-specific RNA segments called external guidancesequences (EGS). The EGSs redirect RNase P enzyme molecules fromtheir natural targets to a range of disease-causing RNA molecules, andcleave these molecules, destroying them and ultimately treating thetarget disease.The technology was developed by Yale University's Sidney Altman, aco-recipient of the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1989 for findings onwhich the EGS technology is based. Innovir has an exclusiveworldwide license from Yale to use the EGS technology.Conventional treatments for APL involve chemotherapeutic agents,which destroy cancerous cells, and the use of retinoic acid, whichinduces differentiation of immature leukemic white blood cells, but iseventually resisted by the patient."We believe this collaboration may yield proof of principle that APLand similar cancers can be treated using Innovir's ribozyme technologyto induce maturation of cancerous cells," said Allan Goldberg,chairman, CEO and president of Innovir. "This ultimately could be atreatment with relatively few side effects, unlike cytotoxic treatmentfor cancer."Innovir (NASDAQ:INVR) stock rose 38 cents per share Thursday,closing at $8.50. _ Jim Shrine
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